11 February 2014

South Africa: What to Expect From Sona - Not Much


On Thursday night, President Jacob Zuma is going to address the nation. It will be his annual set-piece State of the Nation Address, an event that used to be called the Opening of Parliament.

There is the usual air of expectation around what will Zuma say, whether it will lead to change, whether we will get something really, really exciting.

In an election year, this becomes all the more pressing; it's a great opportunity for Zuma to rise above the limitations of TV and radio, and sell his presidency to the people. But the past track record of these speeches, both during Zuma's presidency and before, doesn't raise the hopes of a jaded and cynical STEPHEN GROOTES.

I blame FW.

If he hadn't been quite so dramatic and exciting in 1990, maybe we wouldn't expect so much. If he hadn't had to depart from his prepared script to say "I'm serious" about releasing Nelson Mandela, if I hadn't heard the stories about the journalists in the SABC newsroom cheering as they ticked off the end of Apartheid on the script given to them beforehand, if he hadn't used that forum to announce the biggest change to the country in four ...

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